Sometimes freely improvised music sounds like a marching band falling down an up escalator, and other times its lack of rhythm can be unquestionably painful. Neither of these two obstacles have ever faced the Oregon band known as the Tone Sharks. They ply their craft with an amazing amount of rhythm-based spontaneous creation.
The Sharks have morphed from a quintet (as on their first three recordings) into a sax/guitar/bass/drums quartet. They also switched guitarists to Tom McNalley. Intention, recorded in one session has the feel of Ornette Coleman’s electric harmolodic bands without all the superstar fanfare.
This group makes impromptu recordings sound like a well-rehearsed session band. After the opener, a getting-to-know-you slow drag, they launch into “The School” a military-timed Dave Brubeck-inspired ramble. The band's choice of two electric instruments (guitar and bass) and two acoustic instruments (drums and saxophone) balances the music nicely. Bassist Page Hundemer’s extended bonks and plucks respond to the drummer Dave Storrs' adventurous (use everything but the skins) approach to drumming. Likewise, saxophonist Tom Beregeron extends his instrument beyond notes to clucks and pops on “Bubbling Up,” conversing with the responsive trinkle tinkle of Tom McNalley’s guitar. All these techniques and ideas are skillfully incorporated into coherent groove-oriented songs.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.